By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Raw General Manager Mick Foley Confronted WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho
On one hand, I'm happy Owens and Jericho are still a thing because they are comedy gold together. On the other hand, did they really need to tease tension yet again only to remain a unit? The past few weeks were a waste then, especially since the Owens vs. Roman Reigns feud is continuing through the Royal Rumble. The first Raw of 2017 would have been a perfect time to hold the rematch; the pay-per-view isn't for another five or six weeks. On the bright side, Owens and Jericho have an awesome chemistry with Foley, so this segment with Jericho getting locked in the cage above the ring had me in stitches. That said, Jericho should have been up in the cage a little longer than he was.
Rusev def. Big Cass by Disqualification
I can't believe they went with a match that went no more than a minute as the follow-up to their disappointing match on the Kickoff show. I mean, I'm happy they kept it brief and didn't have the match overstay its welcome, but what was even the point? I continue to question how Rusev is the babyface in all of this if he and his wife are bullied by Enzo Amore and Big Cass almost every week both physically and verbally.
Nia Jax Attacked Sasha Banks
I don't think I have ever been happier to see Nia Jax. No, not because I'm a fan of hers, but rather because it spared us from seeing yet another encounter between Banks and Charlotte Flair. They should keep those two as far away from each other as possible for as long as possible. I'm fine with Banks now entering a feud with Jax, but this was a weak attack from Jax. She should have beaten her up much more than she did to come off like an absolute monster.
Cedric Alexander def. Noam Dar
The "fighting for Alicia Fox's love" angle might seem rather basic, but hey, it's something to do for the previously directionless Dar and Alexander. Alexander is already over with the audience, so it's logical to make Dar the heel here. The bout was fun while it lasted, but I assume there's more matches to come since Dar mentioned them being even. The rubber match could occur as soon as 205 Live on Tuesday night.
Raw Tag Team Champions Cesaro & Sheamus and The New Day def. The Club and The Shining Stars
I appreciated New Day being a bit tamer than usual following their loss of the Raw Tag Team Championship. I thought this would be where they turned heel, but it's possible they're holding off on that. Instead, the focus was on them working together with the new champs to defeat the heels. Everyone hitting their finishers was enjoyable, but they didn't gain much from beating two tandems who have zero credibility at the moment.
Neville and The Brian Kendrick Attacked WWE Cruiserweight Champion Rich Swann and T.J. Perkins
Obviously, this isn't saying much, but this was by far the greatest promo of Neville's career. Granted, he shouted through most of it, but he can always work on improving his mic skills over time. I wish he would have complained about being left out of the Cruiserweight division and off Raw in general since the Draft. That would have made perfect sense. The subsequent attack on the babyfaces was solid, and although I thought it would lead to a tag team match, they were wise to save that for 205 Live.
Sin Cara vs. Titus O'Neil Ended in a No Contest
You had to know this match was a set-up for something. Come on, did you honestly believe they would have O'Neil and Cara face each other on Raw? Don't they know WWE Superstars was cancelled? At any rate, Braun Strowman decimating both men and then tossing Cara through the Christmas tree was wonderful and an amazing visual. You can't help but boo someone who doesn't like Christmas.
Bayley def. Raw Women's Champion Charlotte Flair (Non-title)
WWE transitioning straight into the Bayley vs. Charlotte feud for the Women's title makes me wonder what they have in mind for WrestleMania season. Surely they can't be banking on Ronda Rousey coming in for a match with Charlotte, can they? Either way, this was a strong match from two women who have plenty of history together. Charlotte loses a lot on Raw, so Bayley beating her was not shocking. It also wouldn't shock me if Charlotte lost the belt to Bayley on Raw because of the game of hot potato WWE likes to play with that title.
United States Champion Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins def. WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins by Disqualification
The wrestling was solid and all four men played their roles well, but this was just a formulaic tag team match that furthered the feuds involved in an uninspiring way. Maybe I'm just tired of these four guys in the mix at the top and am ready for new blood. Thus, I was glad to see Strowman lay out both of the babyfaces. I'm curious where that leads given Reigns already has his title match set for the Royal Rumble and Rollins will be busy with Triple H soon.
For the most part, I liked the formatting of the show and for a change, they let the losers speak in addition to the winners from Roadblock. I was anxious how New Day, Banks and Neville would respond to what happened at the pay-per-view, and we heard from all of them. The Strowman storyline that took place over the course of the night was a refreshing change of pace, though the lack of Sami Zayn was strange. This wasn't much of a Christmas edition of Raw despite the graphics indicating otherwise, so I personally was let down that there wasn't a Miracle on 34th Street Fight. Fingers crossed we see one on SmackDown Live this week! Anyway, this wasn't a terrible show, but it definitely dragged and left me exhausted by the end of it, not to mention those "sensitivity" skis were beyond atrocious.